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How Does Ortho-Novum Work?

As mentioned, Ortho-Novum is a combined oral contraceptive, the most common type of birth control pill used today. It contains a combination of two different types of hormones: estrogen and a progestin. The hormones in Ortho-Novum prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
 
Ortho-Novum also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. It changes the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. It also alters the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
 

Ortho-Novum Uses in Children and Teens

Ortho-Novum is approved for use in women of reproductive age. This means that it is not approved for use in girls who have not yet had their first menstrual period.
 

Off-Label Ortho-Novum Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Ortho-Novum for something other than contraception. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, off-label Ortho-Novum uses include treatment of the following conditions:
 
  • Acne
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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